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Revalidation deferred for 10% of doctors

One in ten doctors appraised in the last six months have had their revalidation delayed after responsible officers requested more time to make their decision, according to the GMC.

Of the 8,724 recommendations from responsible doctors acted upon by the GMC between 3 December 2012 and 3 June 2013, 833 doctors- including 351 GPs - had their revalidation deferred. This equates to 9.55% of doctors.

The GPC said this would cause alarm among GPs, but the GMC said the system was designed so that responsible officers needing more time to make a recommendation could defer.

Responsible officers can recommend a GP’s revalidation should be deferred if they cannot make a decision about the doctor’s revalidation on the basis of the information currently available to them.

This could be because the doctor has provided incomplete supporting information, or because they are going through a local investigation or disciplinary process and the result will inform the responsible officer’s decision. Revalidation can be deferred for up to a year after the doctor’s original revalidation date.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said most GPs who have contacted the GPC because their revalidation has been deferred said it was due to administrative problems.

He said: ‘We need to understand why they’ve had deferred. It’s very worrying for any GP to have to deal with a bureaucratic process that’s out of their control which leads to deferment.

‘The impression we’ve had from GPs who’ve contacted us is that it’s the bureaucracy that’s causing the problems.’

He added that these figures would worry GPs as deferment is perceived negatively: ‘While supposedly a neutral act, deferment is seen in a negative light and that’s why GPs have been so fearful of the process. These figures will worry GPs.’

‘Unfortunate variation in responsible officers approaching revalidation. There are variations in decisions and that’s something the GMC need to look at. We look forward to universal standards. The GMC and responsible officers need to work to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible for GPs.’

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson, said the system was designed so that responsible officers could choose to defer revalidation, giving them more time to make a recommendation to the GMC.

He said: ‘We are delighted with the progress that revalidation has made since it was introduced in December last year. More than 7,500 doctors have revalidated so far and all doctors should now have a revalidation date.

‘The vast majority of doctors put forward have successfully revalidated and, as expected, we have approved a small proportion for deferral.

‘The system is designed to be flexible so that if responsible officers need more time before making a recommendation they can defer allowing the doctor to continue to practise in the meantime.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • The whole revalidation system is a basket case and likely to harm patients. When push comes to shove we simply can't afford to loose 1% of GPs let alone 10%. It's likely to go the same way as the CQC and for the sake of the NHS this can't happen soon enough.

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  • Um if your on maternity leave you can't really take part in it this year and need to defer. Probably not a disaster negative press for GPs as this title makes out. The whole thing is still disorganised though

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  • asking for more information is not a disaster,suspect part of the so called bureaucratic process is doctors submitting incomplete information. CQC is not going to go away or revalidation, though neither are rigorous enough

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  • I am struggling to find time to complete 360degree appraisals, patient feedback, etc, etc.

    Should a perfectly good, very busy, well respected GP be struck off just because they lack patient feedback or 360degree appraisal? If so, this would be an absolute travesty.

    Why are doctors reduced to having to jump through flaming hoops with a bone in their collective mouths.

    ... good fido... good fido ;)

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  • The bureaucratic chaos in GP revalidation was caused by the simultaneous introduction of revalidation and the Local Area Teams. This meant that the RO team had to start making revalidation decision as they were being set up. As a consequence, even those who GPs who have been revalidated have been subject to unacceptable administrative delays and disorganisation. The revalidation decision is delayed right up to the very last minute leaving very little time to correct administrative errors. In some cases the RO team have reviewed the wrong submission forcing the appraiser and candidate to resubmit everything. Sometimes there just is not enough time to do this which forces the deferrment decision.

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